Ready-mount bearings improve reliability and save cost

Micromech Ltdvisit website


A manufacturer of pre-press machines and systems faced widespread flange-bearing failure that had to be corrected before the company could introduce its redesigned equipment line. The company chose to use Spyraflo self-aligning Ready Mount needle roller bearings in a flanged steel housing.

Ready-mount bearings improve reliability and save costWhen a manufacturer of pre-press machines and systems faced widespread flange-bearing failure, the problem had to be solved before the company could introduce its redesigned equipment line. Spyraflo, a provider of innovative bearings, supplied its self-aligning Ready Mount needle roller bearing in a flanged steel housing. This avoided the need for costly precision mounting blocks while, at the same time, increasing product reliability and customer satisfaction.

The manufacturer had a proven reputation for supplying lithographers, flexographers and newspaper publishers with high-quality conveyors and inline punches on which they rely. Its transport printing plates 90, 120 and 150cm wide, then manipulate or 'rotate' them as much as 180degrees before they are fed into a press. Each plate exits the Inline punches at a 90degree angle, with precision notches for hanging on a press. The Plate Stackers can load up to 250 plates onto a trolley untouched by human hands, so they can be transported together instead of individually.

Although staff easily kept pace with the printer's demands for increased speed and precision, the same could not be said for the flange-mounted bearings on their machines. Their equipment used multiple flange bearings on shafts, critical for creating the smooth rolling movement needed at each end of the shaft, as well as each pulley that drives belts and O-ring pulleys throughout their machines. But print customers pointed out they work 24/7 for 365 days a year non-stop, so they cannot afford to be constantly stopping and replacing parts.

When the company began plans to introduce a new product line it received feedback from customers reporting flange bearings were seizing after only six to nine months of use. They were told that bearings were 'eating' the shafts. This meant replacing anywhere from 12 flange bearings on the Inline punches to more than 36 on the conveyor model. In addition, the existing flange-bearing supplier could not fill orders for replacement parts on time. The delivery was 'a complete disaster' and would have meant keeping six months' of stock in inventory, just to be able to fill orders on time.

This also put the next generation of products in jeopardy, as every conveyor became faster and precision greater. It was time to look for another supplier that could not only meet the specification but grow along with them by stocking inventory on a three-month rolling forecast to ensure that there was never had a stock shortage.

Initially a flange bearing with special precision mounting blocks was thought to be the answer, but Spyraflo recommended a simpler and less-costly alternative, its self-aligning Ready Mount, incorporating INA needle roller bearings, and mounted in a steel flange.

The needle roller bearing was suitable for the type of shaft and application as the flange bearing's self-aligning feature adapts to variances in the shaft orientation avoiding the need for a more expensive option or special mounting blocks.

There are clear benefits of self-alignment bearings that allow a +/-5degree self-alignment and so a pivoting capability in any direction. Advantages such as fast installation and elimination of precision bearing mounting blocks, easier OEM machine assembly, enhanced machine performance and life. They also provide smooth shaft operation requiring minimal start-up torque and therefore the use of smaller motor drives.

The impact of this change is that now the self-aligning flange bearing design is about 30 per cent faster to install than those requiring precision mounting blocks and it is very cost-competitive. Furthermore, since the needle roller bearings were incorporated, there has not been a single service call.

Micromech is the UK and Eire distributor for Spyroflo bearings.

© Copyright 2006-14 The Engineering Network Ltd.